You are here

EOHHS issues clear, updated guidance on "public charge" for MA households

On September 17th, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) revised its "public charge" guidance for state workers and community organizations, at the behest of the Mass Protecting Immigrant Families (MA PIF) organizations: MLRI, MIRA, HCFA and HLA.  
 
 
We are very grateful to EOHHS for hearing our concerns and accepting revised text. DTA, DPH and other EOHHS state agencies will also be linking to this page. 
 
We know that the recently revised federal "public charge" rules (effective February 24, 2020) are both complicated and confusing for immigrant households. Immigrants actively in the process of adjusting their immigration status should consult with immigrant specialists. But many immigrants are not in this bucket and they desperately need benefits for which they and/or their children are eligible. We hope this EOHHS clarification will be helpful for your clients.
 
What you need to know:
  • Many immigrants are not subject to the “public charge” test. 
  • Benefits for an eligible family member (such as your U.S. citizen child) are not counted against the immigrant in the “public charge” test. 
  • Only a limited set of benefits are considered in the “public charge” test.
MLRI is in the process of updating it's masslegalservices.org webpage on public charge with more client-friendly materials and an updated resource list. 
 
Meanwhile, we hope you will advise community organizations to both consult the EOHHS webpage and urge their clients to use the nutrition benefits (SNAP, WIC, school meals, P-EBT) for which their dependents are eligible.